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  • Chad Werkhoven

1 Corinthians 10:14-17 - Full Participation

Communion is full participation in the body and blood of Christ.

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Read 1 Corinthians 10:14-17

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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 78

Q. Are the bread and wine changed into

the real body and blood of Christ?

A. No.

Just as the water of baptism

is not changed into Christ’s blood

and does not itself wash away sins

but is simply God’s sign and assurance,

so too the bread of the Lord’s Supper

is not changed into the actual body of Christ

even though it is called the body of Christ

in keeping with the nature

and language of sacraments.



This is my body; this is my blood.

On one hand, there's no way Jesus could have been clearer as He commanded the Church to "do this in remembrance of me." On the other hand, no other words of the Bible have created so much division in the Church over the centuries. Does Jesus mean that the bread & wine somehow literally turn into His flesh & blood, or is He speaking metaphorically?

There are three main schools of thought as to the relationship of Jesus' body and blood and the communion elements:

  • Roman Catholic: The elements trans-substantiate: The bread & wine somehow become the flesh and blood of Christ after they've been consecrated by a priest;

  • Lutheran: The elements con-substantiate: The bread & wine don't physically change, but Christ's presence coexists with them as they are consumed;

  • Reformed: The elements are spiritually substantial: The bread and wine possess a spiritual substance that conveys the true presence of Christ to believers.

One of the primary passages Reformed theologians lean on for this understanding is v16 from our reading today: the cup and the bread are a participation in the blood and body of Christ.

Dig Deeper

The Lord's Supper is perhaps better known in our churches as communion. There is a relationship between the Latin word communio and the Greek word translated as 'participation' that Paul uses in v16: koinōnía. Both words are derived from a common root and share similar meanings.

The Latin word communio means "common" or "shared." It refers to the act of sharing, participating, or having something in common with others. In a broader sense, it can also convey the idea of community, fellowship, or communion.

Similarly, the Greek word koinōnía also means "common" or "shared." Κoinōnía encompasses the notions of fellowship, partnership, and participation.

When Jesus first invited His disciples, and later us, to understand that the bread and wine are His body & blood, He was speaking of something much bigger and broader than His physical body. As you participate in communion, know that you are spiritually in the very presence of Jesus Christ, and that you are being joined to His body which is the Church, and as such you receive all of the blessings, benefits & responsibilities that come with it.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, in heaven; Holy is His name!

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will flee idolatry and live your life in a way that's consistent with one who's participating in the body and blood of Jesus.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 15


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